Sunday, February 12, 2012

Valentine’s Day Desserts for Kids

Kids love to cook. They especially love to cook sweet treats that they can gobble down later. Here are some ideas for Valentine’s Day desserts kids will enjoy making and eating.

Everybody loves chocolate or at least they should. Recent research shows that eating a little chocolate is good for you. Don’t tell your kids though, or they’ll never let you forget it.

Valentine’s Day was made for chocolate. Let the kids make some chocolate cupcakes. For most cake and cupcake recipes, it is easy to throw in a bit of melted chocolate for an extra sweet tasting dessert. Top them with icing fit for the occasion—red or pink.

Jell-O has been a kid favorite since it was introduced to the world. Turn the popular treat into a Valentine’s Day treat with some cookie cutters. Cookie cutters shaped like hearts, kissing lips, cupid, or letters create holiday cut-outs for the kids. Let the kids cut the shapes after the gelatin has set.

Kids love to decorate with icing and sprinkles and candy. If you make cupcakes, brownies, or cake for them this Valentine’s Day, let them decide how the finished confections will look. Put the icing in a bag designed for that purpose so the kids can pipe the icing through to create words or pictures on the dessert. A plastic storage bag with a small hole cut into the corner works just as well as a cake decorating bag.

Cookies go well with any holiday. For Valentine’s Day, use sugar cookies. With sugar cookies, they can be topped with icing, sugar, and sprinkles. Try to get sprinkles shaped like hearts. Our tried and true cookie cutters can be used again to cut the chilled dough into the same shapes as the gelatin treats.

How about a dessert pizza? Using cookie dough, roll it out to the shape and diameter of a large pizza. Follow package instructions for baking the cookie. Once it’s done and cooled, top with icing. White or vanilla icing can be tinted pink or darker with some red food coloring. Then, let the kids top the dessert pizza with their favorite candies. Plain M&M’s, candy sprinkles, and other chewy sweets can top the pizza.

Try a new twist on some dessert favorites. Add large candy hearts to the top of cupcakes. Create a cake shaped like cupid. Use heart-shaped foil cups to bake brownies. All of these ideas are easy enough for your kids to help you create them.

Feed that sweet tooth with some great treat ideas this year. Your kids might have a few ideas of their own to add to the pot for more Valentine’s Day fun.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Cookies

As kids, as adults, we all love cookies. It's probably one of the favorite desserts of people of all ages. And while cookies are certainly great all year round, there is just nothing like those couple of days before Christmas when mom starts making the Christmas cookies. This is a time of year when cookies take on a whole new meaning.

Christmas is a magical time, especially for children. We all gather around eagerly to set up the Christmas tree. There isn't enough tinsel and ornaments to cover our masterpiece of nature. And after the tree is trimmed and we eagerly await Santa Claus, what do we do? We put out a plate of Christmas cookies for Santa to take with him on his way out. Of course what we don't tell our kids is that in the middle of the night we wake up, nibble on the cookies and leave just enough crumbs so that the kids know that Santa was there.

Then of course there's Christmas Day and the week following when we have about 6 tins of these treats to munch on. This is our excuse to have cookies at breakfast, lunch, dinner and at every chance we get during the day. Snack time takes on a whole new meaning during the Christmas season. And what about these cookies? How many different kinds do you think there are? Well, there are probably more kinds of Christmas cookies than you can imagine.

There are of course your traditional Christmas cookie shapes. These come in the form of candy canes, Santas, stars and just about any kind of shape that you can associate with the Christmas season. And the cookies themselves are made from various ingredients. You have your plain old sugar cookies, chocolate, nuts, cinnamon and the list goes on and on. Most of these cookies are made out of molds that you can buy at just about any baking goods store. They're pretty common.

Then you have your not so traditional Christmas cookies. This is where people get to be a little more creative and yet still add that Christmas touch. These can range from something as simple as a jelly cookie with small gum drops in the center to something as elaborate as the ever popular seven layer cookie, made up mostly of chocolate. These cookies would put a diabetic into a coma, but they are sure good.

The truth is, the kind of cookies you could make at Christmas time are limited only by your imagination. And if you've got a lot of little kids in the house, you're going to need quite a bit of that imagination. Nobody wants to eat the same old candy cane cookies day after day. So make sure you whip up at least 5 or 6 different varieties of cookies if you want to keep everybody happy. After all, a happy family is what Christmas is all about. Yes, Christmas is a magical time and Christmas cookies are a big part of that magic.

Ann Marie Krause has been making cookies for over 30 years, at persent I am retired, for over 23 years I owned a Gourmet Bakery called The Cheese Confectioner.You can visit my site at

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Crispy Rice Pumpkin Pops

What You Need:

1 (10 1/2 oz.) pkg. miniature marshmallows
3 T of butter
1/8 t of salt
Red and yellow gel food coloring
6 C of crisp rice cereal
6 Popsicle sticks
3 miniature Tootsie rolls, cut in half
3 miniature green apple Air Head candies, cut into thin strips
Black decorating gel

How to Make It:

Place the marshmallows, butter and salt into a large sauce pan over medium low heat.
Stirring constantly, cook 5 minutes or until completely melted and smooth.
Remove the pan from the heat.
Stir in the red and yellow food coloring until you have reached a pumpkin orange color.
Fold in the cereal and coat well.
Lightly butter your hands and fingers and form the mixture into 6 equal size balls.
Insert 1 Popsicle stick 1/2 way up into each ball.
Place 1/2 of each Tootsie roll on the top of the ball to represent the pumpkin stem.
Roll the Air Head candy strips between your palms to form a vine.
Press the vine into the pumpkin ball as close to the stem as you can, allowing it vine over the edge of the pumpkin.
Make a face on the pumpkin using the black decorating gel.
Allow the pops to cool completely on a wire rack.

These make fun little treats to give out on Halloween. Need more than 6 just double or triple the ingredients. They also make great treats for that Halloween school party or as an after school Halloween snack.

Makes 6 servings

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Recipe Venue Blog - Introducing edible food glitter

Halloween Glitter Popcorn Snack
Introducing edible food glitter.

What You Need:

1 (1.75 oz.) bag microwave popcorn
1 C of fruit flavored cereal
1 C of chocolate flavored cereal
1 T of edible glitter

How to Make It:

Microwave the popcorn as directed on the package.
Dump the popcorn into a large mixing bowl.
Add the cereal and toss to combine with the popcorn.
Sprinkle the glitter of the top and toss again to coat well.

Edible glitter can be found in the cake decorating department of your local craft store. If you cannot find it use colored sugars instead. Place this fun snack in a plastic pumpkin for the kids to munch on during the party or fill small Halloween bags and give out to those cute trick or treaters instead of candy.

Makes 8 servings

Total Time: approximately 10 minutes

Nutritional Information (approximate values per 1 C serving):
Calories 70; fat 1 1/2 g; sodium 100 mg; carbohydrates 11 g; sugar 5 g; protein 0g